Microsoft is to update its popular Desktop Optimisation Pack with additional virtualisation software now that its acquisition of Kidaro has been completed.

The Kidaro software lets users run multiple versions of Windows and applications concurrently without having to open multiple virtual machine sessions. Microsoft has rebranded the Kidaro software as Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualisation and will release it in the first half of 2009.

"We will continue investing here because we know manageability is fundamental to broad corporate use of desktop virtualisation," wrote Shanen Boettcher, GM of Windows product management, on the Vista Team Blog.

The Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, or MDOP, is designed to help IT administrators manage collections of Windows desktops. It includes Application Virtualization to stream applications from a centrally managed service; Asset Inventory Service, an inventory scanning tool; System Center Desktop Error Monitoring; Advanced Group Policy Management (APGM) for change management via group policy objects; and the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset, which helps in recovering a crashed PC.

MDOP comprises software from Microsoft's purchases of Softricity, AssetMetrix, Winternals Software and DesktopStandard and is available only to users with Software Assurance maintenance contracts. It has become the fastest-selling volume licensing product in Microsoft's history, with more than 6.5 million licences.

Other MDOP updates include the fall release of Asset Inventory Service 1.5, which will add licence reconciliation along with scalability improvements, and Advanced Group Policy Management 3.0, which adds support for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008, new security features, and enhanced reporting.